Life is full of trap doors. Some are ours. Some are theirs. It's what you would expect since the spiritual dimension we talk about in church is real and not just a story we tell children.
The Chronicles of Narnia is a story we tell children, but adults listening in know Mr. Lewis had more in mind than a wooden wardrobe. He himself was sucked into the kingdom by a trap door tailor-made for his elfland-loving temperament. Mine happened to be in Switzerland. My friend Jenny tumbled in through a billboard, of all things, which wouldn't have worked for me at all.
But the Enemy has his doors, too. Honestly, I don't know what the devil knows, and whether his knowledge of human nature is more of a general expertise or a study of you and me in particular, but 1 Peter 5:8 suggests he has a door with your name on it. Pity the poor lad in Proverbs 7. Caught like a deer in a thicket. Reduced to a loaf of bread by an unfortunate taste for female flesh.
If there can be any joy in hell, it must the mainstreaming of pornography. What used to be sneaked out in paper bags from the clandestine section of the apothecary magazine rack in my childhood is on cable today. "$4 billion a year is spent on video pornography in the United States-more than on football, baseball, or basketball" (Pornified by Pamela Paul).
I interviewed a woman in my church whose husband confessed his pornography problem at the annual men's retreat years ago. I asked her how many guys in our local congregation struggle with porn, expecting she would say about 10 percent. She said 50 percent.
One day 12-year-old boys playing in the neighborhood, doing what 12-year-old boys do in the spring of their lives, came upon trash dumped in the alleyway. It only looked like discarded magazines, but it was a trap door. Some of the boys snickered and moved on to follow other siren calls. For young Ted Bundy, a taproot was implanted in his soul, with a direct line to hell.
On the night before his death by electric chair in Florida on Jan. 24, 1989, above the clamor of a press corps thick as piranhas, Bundy allowed only one interview, and delivered this message to Dr. James Dobson:
"I grew up in a wonderful home with two dedicated and loving parents, as one of five brothers and sisters. We, as children, were the focus of my parents' lives. We regularly attended church. My parents did not drink or smoke or gamble. There was no physical abuse or fighting in the home. I'm not saying it was Leave It to Beaver but it was a fine, solid, Christian home. I hope no one will try to take the easy way out of this and accuse my family of contributing to this. . . ."
And from there he unraveled his tale-of photographic wedges into a trap door that opened increasingly wider for its prey.
"In the beginning, it fuels this kind of thought process. Then, at a certain time, it is instrumental in crystallizing it, making it into something that is almost a separate entity inside. . . . It's a very difficult thing to describe-the sensation of reaching that point where I knew I couldn't control it anymore.
"The barriers I had learned as a child were not enough to hold me back. . . . I can only liken it to (and I don't want to over-dramatize it) being possessed by something so awful and alien, and the next morning waking up and remembering what happened and realizing that in the eyes of the law, and certainly the eyes of God, you're responsible. . . . There is no way to describe the brutal urge to do that, and once it has been satisfied, or spent, and that energy level recedes, I became myself again."
Recently I spent days at a place called the Colony of Mercy, in Whiting, N.J., where men who have fallen through various trap doors into one kind of addiction or another find deliverance through Jesus. I noticed even some of the trees on the grounds have Bible verses nailed on them for men to stumble on. The people running the Colony are, after all, aware of the fact that some trap doors belong to the Enemy, but some belong to God.
If you have a question or comment for Andrée Seu, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.